Now that my featured artist show is all installed at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, here is a preview for you. I know that I’ve already shared and wrote about all the pieces you’ll encounter, but here is a look at them in the gallery.
Something almost magical happens when three artist start to install a show in our HGA Feature Gallery. Somehow, no matter how different the work, it just seems to make sense together. My little howling wolf Loup Nouveau appears to have a moon painted just for him in Ellie Reinhold’s Reciprocus.
A trio of my patterned pieces greets you at the Featured Exhibit room main entrance. They are all examples of my treating the figures’ surface as a canvas for pattern.
Tea With My Octopus Teacher, came home last week after being part of the National Teapot show at Cedar Creek Gallery. This piece is doubly fun, as it is also a functional work as well. It is a sculptural handbag. The octopus’ clasped arms form a handle, and a small button clasp secures the teapot lid. Inside, is a fully lined compartment. It is displayed in a grouping with My Balloon, and Prince Frog.
Change Up, the giraffe with ox pecker attendants applying her colored spots is displayed alongside Kanga And Roo.
Dance is a pair of cranes captured mid step in a courtship dance. You see them here in front of my pair of elephants working together to climb wooden blocks titled Ele-vate.
After the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts closes this afternoon, changes in the Featured Gallery room will occur. The gallery elves, otherwise known as the member artists, will set about taking down one show, and installing the next. Reciprocus, and the new work I’ve shared with you here will be ready to view starting tomorrow, September 25. The show will run through October 22nd. The opening reception will be this Friday, the 29th from 6 to 9 during the Last Friday Art walk.
I will be sure to share some images of the installed show with you in a few days. Hope to see you all on Friday!
I think Loup Nouveau is the last figure sculpture that will be included in my featured artist show. We install at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in just a little over a week. Next week, I will share more show specific details, so stay tuned!
His name is Loup Nouveau. He is the next in my series of patterned figures. I captured this rather young looking little wolf mid howl. I adorned him with an art nouveau inspired floral pattern.
Loup Nouveau is needle felted wool over an armature I created of wire and quilt batting. For the figure itself, I used natural colored wool fibers. The leaves and flowers are colored wool from various sources. Some I dyed with natural food colors.
Perhaps it is this young pup’s first howling attempt. He certainly appears to be giving it his all. As with my other patterned creatures, I’ve applied them in a manner that I hope flows over the figure. I want them to have a harmony with the form and appear to have grown with the sculpture.
Loup’s eyes which appear blue in the images, are iridecent black glass beads. I prefer, as I have mentioned before, glass beads over more realistic doll making eyes. It is a personal preference. I find that doll eyes tend to cross a bit into the creepy realm for me. Glass beads, as seen in this case, provide the sparkle needed without the creep factor.
Loup Nouveau, and his art nouveau florals will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Art beginning Monday, September 25. He and all his fuzzy felted friends hope to see you at the opening reception during the Last Friday Art Walk from 6-9 on Friday the 29th. The show will run through Sunday, October 22nd.
No one seems to know exactly why saying “rabbit, rabbit” on the first of the month is supposed to be good luck. To be honest, I never really followed the tradition… But, it is the first of the month, and one of the pieces I’m sharing is a hare. So, I figured, why not?
Boho Bunny (rabbit, hare, lepus)
I mentioned that “Finding True North” sparked a series of patterned figures in my sketchbook. Florian started as one of those sketches. I have produced a number of rabbit figures, and Florian takes them in a new direction. Seems he would be equally at home hiding in your flower garden, on the edge of a meadow, or on the pages of a storybook.
I tried to capture Florian in that moment of rabbit stillness deciding if he should remain motionless or bolt. Looking more closely at him, I think he still is a work-in-progress. I see that I want to define his feet a bit more, and want to tweak his position to depict a bit more tension.
Hesperia refers to the direction of the setting sun, or the evening star. I did a search of owl names online, and Hesperia jumped out at me. She looks at the viewer with piercing clear blue eyes that are a similar hue as her distinctive circular and star like markings.
I tried something different with this bird’s talons. For most bird feet, I “felt” yarn that I have wrapped around the wire armature all the way to the end. This creates a challenge of getting the ends tight enough to not allow the wire to poke through. This time I stopped the yarn at the claws. The claws themselves I fashioned by layering black tissue paper and glue. The result is a more solid end cap that also secures the yarn wrapping of the foot.
Both sculptures are needle felted wool over a wire and batting armature. They also both contain internal elements for ballast and balance. In Florian, I used stuffing beads. Hesperia has strategically placed fishing weights in her tail, and legs to allow her to stand.
Show Installs 9/25, reception 9/29
Hesperia, Florian, and many of their friends will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting on September 25th. The reception for my feature show, Reciprocus, with fellow HGA artists Ellie Reinhold and Pat Merriman is that Friday, September 29th. I hope to see you then!
Every once and a while, a single piece sparks several more pieces in a slightly new direction. That happend recently with Finding True North. I like the surface treatment of the nautical “tatoos’ so much, that I found muself sketching other sculptures that incorporated interesting patterning or symbolism on their surfaces. The first of these new sketches to be realized is Prince Frog.
He is a little purple three toed tree frog. I captured this anthropomprphic amphibian waving hello, or perhaps giving a piece sign? It’s hard to tell the difference with only three fingers. He wears a distinctive little raspberry beret set to one side, and has distinctive paisley pattern on his back.
Prince Frog is needle felted wool over a wire and batting armature. He has iridescent black glass bead eyes. This art doll sculpture looks up and waves from a squating position on his hind legs. I will let you know when he becomes available for purchase.
Prints, Prints, and Cards
I received a request to wholesale some of my monoprint cards. Many artists bristle at anything that feels like production work, and I am definitely in that category. I don’t even like making batches of my own holiday ornaments (puffins, polar bears, and baby seals, oh, my!) but, they are so darn cute and popular. I was torn by the request, especially since my prints aren’t even my main artwork. They weren’t looking for hundreds, (though they may in the future) so I figured I give it a try. I made more than the order, so they can choose, and any left over will be available to take to HGA. I will let you know where they are headed after I deliver them next month. The price will be slightly higher than the $10 I sell them for at HGA. I have no control over retail markup.
Each of these cards is hand-pulled on a gell press using acrylic paint and plant materials. Almost all are comprised of two layers of paint, one with the forground image and the other background color. Some feature additional overprinting, and watercolor enhancements. Each card is a unique and one-of-a-kind original art work on paper and is suitable for framing.
It is defined as getting on the right course, and proceeding in the right direction.
My latest sculpture, Finding True North, is a white sperm whale. I depict him breaching far out of the water, and spouting from his blowhole. It is, of course, an obvious nod to Moby Dick, but I hope he is a bit more. My white whale is adorned with a variety of nautical “tattoos”. Some of these images are navigational symbols. I hope he suggests finding one’s way for the viewer rather than serving as a symbol of singleminded obsession as Melville’s whale did.
Finding True North is needle felted wool over an armature of wire and quilt batting. Several points of sparkle are incorporated in this sculpture through the use of hand sewn glass beads. Iridecent black beads are used for his eyes, clear crystals for the stars of the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor dipper constellations, and blue seed beads accentuate the spout spray. The symbols are truly wool tatoos as the colored wool is applied through repeated needle sticks to the surface. The piece also features a bit of metalic thread to highlight the constellations that indicate the location of the North Star, Polaris. Additionally, I used some of the synthetic quilt batting I mainly use in my sculptures’ interior form as a fiber source for the bright white of the water spray.
Though my whale is baring his one row of large teeth he doesn’t appear menacing. He will be smiling and providing guidance and navigation soon at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. I will let you know when he is available for purchase.
“For You” is a young raccoon holding out a daisy. He is offering his flower up to the viewer. I’m not sure if he intends to share the flower itself, or merely a chance to sniff and see if it has a sweet sent. Either way, he engages the viewer to move in a bit closer, and smile.
For You, is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. He contains stuffing beads as well to provide ballast and volume. His daisy is needle felted wool over wire. He also features large glass bead eyes, and some prominant fishing line whiskers.
Kanga and Roo?
Kanga and Roo is an anthropomorphic Kangaroo sculpture that features a momma and her baby. The joey kangaroo waves at the viewer from the security of mom’s pouch. Momma Kanga appears to be proudly pointing out her progeny.
Kanga and Roo are needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. They both have hand sewn glass bead eyes. This pair will likely hop into HGA for my feature show in September, but keep an eye out, sometimes they become available early. I will let you know when either Kanga and Roo, or their raccoon friend, For You, become available.
As I have been prepping sketches for this year’s Featured Artist show, I have been scanning images online. It is something I do in the planning phase of most sculptures I create. As I may have mentioned, I’ve been working on sculptures with multiple animal figures. A cold search for images with 2 or more animals has yeilded many points of inspiration. One image that caught my eye depicts two bears. In the photo, a momma grizzley bear stands on all fours with her young cub presumably along for the ride on her back. The youngest of the two bears looks so very comfortable and content. This is the feeling I strove to evoke in my piece Mommy ‘n Me.
The mother bear is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature form. The young bear is wool over batting, and is felted on to mom’s back. Both bears have hand sewn glass bead eyes.
Happy, But Not Completely by Accident
Last week, I introduced some of my gel plate monoprints. I mentioned it is a process in which you do a lot of learning by doing, seeing what works and what doesn’t. There are a couple of points in the production of each print where you hold your breath… Will the photo-transfer of the lazer print be clear on the plate? Will the whole print come off the plate clean? What will result of the final mixing of the foreground layer and the background colors?… There is a certain amount of variability in each print that is somewhat out of your control. So, it is a moment of surprize each time you peel back your final paper.
One such print I produced yesterday is Flower Print #3. This print has several layers. I pressed a composition of flowers from my garden in a layer of blue and green and pulled off the negative space around them. I then applied a second background layer of yellow and white. Finally, I did a single overprint of yellow on the side facing full bloom. The result is a quite painterly looking print of my flower composition.
Additionally, I did a photo-transfer of an image of my sculpture Remember Whales. It is always exciting when the print transfer has a nice crisp impression. I created this print with a mixture of green and blue in the foreground, a white background layer, and just a touch of watercolor to highlight his eye.
I have been playing in the studio with the idea of presenting images of my work as well as the sculptures themselves. I did not want to merely produce cards and prints of the photos I take of my work. The process of producing gel plate monoprints caught my eye, and I decided to try my hand at this unique medium. This type of print uses a synthetic surface that looks and feels like a slab of gelatin. Each of the prints produced is an unique original piece of art. You can utilize a wide variety of media as the printing “ink.” I have been using regular acrylic paints to produce mine. One gel print technique allows you to use lazer prints (and some magazine images) to incorporate photo transfers. I have used this to create something completely new from the work images I share here with you.
The process can be a bit temperamental, so I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting and learning. I finally have produced a few pieces that I’m happy with, and will be taking them into the gallery in the form of matted prints (5×7 & 8×10) and some blank note cards. So far, I’ve produced photo transfers of my work, and some completly original print art using found objects like spring flowers. Each piece is completely unique, and may include over printing, multiple colors, or hand coloring with watercolors to finish. Below are a few examples…
I will bringing the cards and prints into the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts as soon, as I get them all priced, labeled and entereded into inventory… Hopefully, in the next day or so.
… Then the Fish
Conversation Bubbles is my newest anthropomorphic sculpture. This hanging mobile sculpture is something a little different. The piece features three needle felted aquatic creatures. I took some liberties with the exact species, but they based on a yellow tang, a pink tailed trigger fish, and a mauve stinger jellyfish.
The glass bead “bubbles” raising from the two fish are my marine version of cartoon conversation bubbles. Not sure what they are talking about, but it may have something to do with a gulf jellyfish being in their tropical Hawaiian reef.
Both of the fish are needle felted wool over batting with glass bead eyes. The jelly fish features a nuno-felted layer over a majenta needle felted layer. The top of the jelly has hand sewn glass bead dots.
The mobiles hanging system brought me back out to my metal shop to hand forge the copper “waves” from wire. I used large jewelry jumprings and fishing swivels to attach the figures and beads with fishing line. I am not sure yet if I will hold this piece back for my show or not.
Time has a way of speeding up when you are real busy. I see that I haven’t posted in a few weeks, and BOOM! my featured artist show, Interconnected Visions, opens tomorrow evening at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. It appears I have some catching up to do.
First some additional introductions.
This is Showoff.
Showoff is a Malabar Giant Squirrel, Ratufa indica. Yes, they are a real animal, native to the forrests of India. Also, yes, some of them have purple-magenta-ish coloring. Mine is perhaps a bit more vibrant? It is hard to know for sure. I did find numerous photos just as colorful, but there is no way of knowing if the individuals who took those images might have enhanced them. I created Showoff simply because purple squirrels exist, and I think that is pretty fantastic. You may find it surprising, but it appears that their bright coloring actuallty helps them blend in among the treetops, as the patterning breaks up their outline. These squirrels are also quite large, roughly twice the size of the Eastern Grey squirrel.
My Showoff is not trying to remail unseen, in fact he is waving at the viewer to attract attention. He features the same needlefelted wool over wire and batting form as my other sculptural pieces.
What else can be said about an ice skating flamingo? Be Unique is a response to a request. A lighhearted urge to be oneself no matter what the “normal” role may be. She appears to be quite proud of her skills, and has a naturally colorful skating costume. Be Unique is also needle felted wool over wire and batting. Her internal armature anchors into her sparkly base.
Something different for this show.
I created several wet felted vessels for this show. Wool fibers have scales along thier surface. These scales grab on to one another as fibers are pushed past each other in the felting process. In needle felting, I stab the loose fibers with special needles that catch and move the wool.
Wet felting uses soapy water and agitation to felt the fibers together. These vessels were created by layering loose wool roving over a balloon. I then spray soapy water on the wool, and cover the wool with tulle netting. Bubble wrap is then rubbed over the tulle in small circular motions. The process of layering, rewetting, and rubbing is performed for several layers. I remove the balloon between some layers to guage thickness and tightness of the felt, and to check the structural integrity of the vessel. I also “boil” the wool by wetting it down and placing in the microwave for short bursts. This additionally tightens the felt.
I created two bags for this show as well. One is quite causal, and the other a bit flashy.
My Grey Felted Bag was wet felted over a foam form. Layers of wool are placed on the form with edges that wrap around to the other side. The wool is wet, covered with tulle, and agitated with bubble wrap in the same manner as the vessels. I cut the top of the bag open, and then cut handle openings. I finished off the handles by stitching with yarn. The bag is lined with purple cotton that is hand-stitched in place. I added velcro to the liner under the handles as a closure.
My Butterfly Clutch is a combination of wet and needle felting techniques, and a little recycling. I first created the envelope clutch bag in similar manner to the Grey Felted Bag. It also has a lining of the same purple fabric sewen inside. The striking monarch butterfly wing was needle felted for an earlier piece that I wasn’t quite satisfied with. I scrapped that sculpture, but kept the needle felted wings. One wing already made its way on to a denim shoulder bag. I attached this wing by needle felting it directly on to the closure flap of the bag.